Having emerged victorious in Saturday’s doubles event, Sunday sees Andy Murray once again turn his attention back to singles matters.
The Scottish giant has played a hand in both of Great Britain’s winning matches so far, overcoming Croatian youngster Borna Coric in straight sets before teaming up with Colin Fleming to earn a doubles win.
Currently 2-1 up in Croatia, however, the winds could change all too quickly with the scores so finely poised.
That being said, Greg Rusedski is one big name who appears to be fully behind the British movement toward 2014 success:
Well done team GB for winning the doubles. One more rubber win and back into the world group. Been too long but will be great to be back!— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) September 14, 2013
If the British men are to earn their place in the 2014 World Group, they’ll need to ensure a winning mentality is maintained on Sunday, with the tightest encounters saved for the Croatian climax.
Ivan Dodig vs. Andy Murray
Easily the most enticing of the singles fixtures, this Sunday sees the more senior figures from both Great Britain and Croatia do battle on the clay surface of Stella Maris.
Across their six sets on Friday, the pair lost just 14 games as they both cruised to straight-sets victories over each other’s respective starlets.
Dodig will be Murray’s biggest test since losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in his straight-sets U.S. Open defeat earlier this month, and provides the Scotsman with the opportunity to regain some of his hard-earned confidence.
The Croatian is currently deputising for the absent Marin Cilic, but will be a similar test of Murray’s resolve, currently sitting at 35th in the ATP rankings.
Murray and Dodig were the highlight of Saturday’s doubles clash where Colin Fleming teamed up with the Wimbledon champion to see out a 3-1 triumph over the host pair.
In the wake of that win, Murray has moved quickly in terms of setting his attention on an individual clash with the Croat and was reported by the Metro’s Alistair Potter as noting:
It definitely helps [playing Dodig before the singles]. You get a feel for the return and I returned his serve fairly well today.
I felt I got a pretty good read of it which will hopefully help tomorrow.
Of course, one can only take the doubles victory so far in terms of how it’ll affect any singles matchup, but it’s difficult to deny that Murray had the mark of his man in their first meeting.
Borna Coric vs. Dan Evans
The two budding stars grabbing everyone’s attention in Umag this weekend, Dan Evans and Borna Coric will see this Sunday’s battle as a much fairer contest than the ones they may have faced so far.
Regardless of Coric’s home advantage, Evans, seven years the Croat’s senior, heads into Sunday’s clash as the favourite of the two.
Russell Fuller points out just how close matters are at the moment, however:
If Ivan Dodig beats Murray, Dan Evans will have to win decider. Could he face 16 year old Borna Coric? He's been warming up on centre court— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) September 15, 2013
The Englishman was unable to break Dodig’s serve during their singles encounter and ultimately found almost every facet of his game bested by the host nation’s premier name.
That being said, 16-year-old Coric can go into the match with a nothing-to-lose attitude, a dangerous weapon in itself.
In contrast, Coric actually was able to break Murray’s serve in one game on Friday, but ultimately won just six games out of 24.
In the end, a 4-1 victory looks most likely for Great Britain at the end of Sunday’s proceedings, but Evans perhaps hasn’t earned the same pedigree to be considered as reliable a competitor as his British mentor, Murray.